Stop shaming Wawa customers for going inside while getting gas (Opinion)
I need to get something off my chest.
Many times when the topic of pet peeves comes up on the air, we will often hear people calling in and complaining about the people who walk into Wawa, or a Wawa-adjacent store, while getting gas.
Others in line at the pump will often silently shame those who run in while the attendant takes care of the gas, arguing they are slowing down the flow. I get why it bothers you. I understand why you think that in a place like New Jersey that is quick-moving, the sense of urgency needs to be raised a little when doing this.
But the anger in this instance is misguided.
The reason why is very simple: These super-convenience stores want you to go inside. Naturally, they want you to spend more money.
Why else would the gas attendants at Wawa, QuickChek, and Royal Farms hand the customer's credit or debit card back to them after putting it in the gas pump?
You don't tend to see that practice from gas attendants at your routine Exxons, Sunocos, or Circle Ks of the world. You can usually ask for the card back if you want to run inside, but it is not the default option.
UPDATE: Since this has been published, I've heard from many (angry) people who disagree with the thought of not finding the act of leaving your car and going inside to be a big deal. Many are suggesting NJ super-convenience stores return the card right away because of liability, not because they want you to spend more money. You might be technically right, but the powers that be know that by continuing this practice they will benefit more.
I understand the frustration of seeing people abandon their cars to go inside and order dinner for four and a smoothie while the gas line is backing up, but until these super-convenience stores lay down the law and decide to no longer openly invite their customers to go inside, it's going to keep happening.
Perhaps it's on us to be the change we want to see in the world.
I've set my own personal boundaries. I won't leave my car at the pump to go inside if I'm ordering any sort of built-to-order meal. For a coffee, snack, or something else quick, I have no issue with running in quickly.
Alternatively, imagine being able to order your Wawa hoagie from a touchscreen that's at the gas pump. This way it will make more sense for the customer to wait in their vehicle while the food is prepared.
Or how about this one: Let us pump our own damn gas in New Jersey. This way we can't leave the car even if we wanted to. This one is out of the business's hands and the customer's hands. Rather, it's up to the state to have enough trust in its residents to be able to put gas in their vehicle like most of the U.S.
Maybe we can meet in the middle. But whatever the solution may one day be, the answer is not to shame customers who are simply going along with the flow.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 producer, writer, and host Joe Votruba. Any opinions expressed are his own.